Our guest for this session of the Mindset Shift is Jonathan Forrest, Chief Executive Officer of In The Company of Huskies. Jonathan has over 25 years’ experience transforming growth for some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Guiness and Coca Cola. He is passionate about helping brands transform into people centred brands for todays connected world.
In this interview, Jonathan tells Tim McCarthy about his early life growing up in Dublin in the 70’s and 80’s and shares some great lessons he has learnt from his parents. His mum taught him the importance of hard work. From a young age, Jonathan and his three siblings had to do chores, and everyone had to pitch in. His father gave him a strong understanding of the value of money. Jonathan was given a monthly pocket money allowance in which he had to carefully manage to make sure he was never left with no bus fare.
Jonathan shares his fond memories of school life. He confesses that he wasn’t great academically, but he was great at developing friendships and loved sports. He also tells Tim about his love for music from a young age. This is no surprise as Jonathan’s mum was a singing teacher, but he explains that she never forced him to part take in music. She allowed him to grow this passion himself.
Jonathan then went on to college where he studied geography, archaeology and philosophy. He fell in love with philosophy, describing it as a serendipity. College gave Jonathan the space to find out more about himself, but he still had no idea what he wanted to do after his course. He decided to go and travel for a while and then came back to Ireland where he undertook a Fás course in direct marketing.
Jonathan tells Tim about his love for marketing from day one in his first job in Dimension, an advertising agency. Jonathan attributes a lot of his passion for his first role down to the great boss he had. He explains that his boss was very liberal and treated employees like human beings. He never spoke down to people or in a very authoritative manner. This is something Jonathan tries to carry on in the culture of his own company today.
Since starting his own agency, Jonathan explains to Tim one of the main learnings he has taken away from being in a leadership position. Jonathan says he had to change his mindset. He realised he had to deconstruct his ego and start to ask for help and allow his colleagues to use their expertise. He came to the realisation that none of us can do everything and that there is no shame in asking for help, that’s what a team is all about.